I Talk about It All the Time
“Beautifully, immersively written, these everyday and reflective snapshots from the life of a Black, queer Norwegian woman are searing, insightful, and so recognizable for other women in the Black European diaspora.”
What does it mean to be Norwegian?
In this biting, lyrical memoir, Camara Lundestad Joof, born in Bodø to Norwegian and Gambian parents, shares her experiences as a queer Black Norwegian woman. Joof’s daily encounters belie the myth of a colorblind contemporary Scandinavia. She wrestles with the fickle palimpsest of memory, demanding communion with her readers even as she recognizes her own exhaustion in the face of constantly being asked to educate others about racism.
“I regularly decide to quit talking to white people about racism,” writes Joof. Discussions with white people about racism often feel unproductive, the occasional spark of hope coming at enormous personal cost. But not talking about it is impossible, a betrayal of self. The book is a self-examination as well as societal indictment. It is an open challenge to readers, to hear her as she talks about it, all the time.
“A stunning memoir told in illuminating fragments. Joof’s devastating narrative captures what it costs to navigate spaces where you are constantly treated as if you do not belong.”
—Ethelene Whitmire, author of Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian
“This gemlike book relentlessly dramatizes the particularities of Norwegian racism. The power of Joof's observations increases in proportion to their understated precision. Her gentle voice is wholly deceptive. She slices through the delusions, denials, and defensiveness that distinguish the unthinkable racism of Scandinavian society.”
—Paul Gilroy, author of The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness
Table of Contents
Introduction: Let’s Talk about Race
Monica L. Miller and Nana Osei-Kofi
What’s in a Name?
National Costume I
A Less Significant Event
Quid Pro Quo
Brownness for Sale
The Stupidity of Youth
A Little Man
Playing the Victim
Traveling by Plane
Traveling by Train
The Arts and Culture Center for Nynorsk
He Hit First
Someone Else’s Brother
You’re on the Wrong Train, Sir
National Costume II
Mom Is a Superhero
Your Silence Will Not Save You
Translator’s Note and Acknowledgments
Olivia Noble Gunn
Of Related Interest
120 pp. 5.5 x 8.5